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A letter from Kim Marshall, whose son Daniel received the Gift of Hearing in 2007.

Dear E
ileen, GOHF, and anyone else along the way who has helped;

This letter has been a long time coming. I just wanted to sit down and let you know how much we really appreciate everything that everyone has done for Danny and our family.

First off I would like to go into a little bit of our history. Wes and I got married 5 years ago in April. We had our oldest son a year and a half later. We were pretty comfortable with life and the way things were going and decided to have another baby. You never really think about all of the things that can go wrong when those two little cells get together to make a little person. I never thought that we would have a child with any kind of special needs. Well along came Danny. He spent the first week of his life in the NICU. His oxygen level was not were it needed to be, because he was early by 3 weeks. He failed his newborn hearing screening there but the doctor told me that it could have been that he had fluid in his ears from being born c-section. They told me not to worry about it and that I needed to follow up with another screening in 3 weeks. So I did. He failed again. They had us come back in 2 weeks. He failed again. At this point the audiologist told us we should go see an ear, nose and throat doctor.

We went to see our doctor that was also seeing our oldest son, Walker, for tubes and he sent us to Primary Childrenís Medical Center. We took Danny down there and had a test called an ABR which is a very long hearing test that is completed while he was sleeping. This day was the day that they told us that our baby was deaf. I donít recall a whole lot more from that day because I went into a blur. You never think that you are going to hear anything like that from a doctor about your 2-month old baby. Wes and I were devastated. How were we going to handle this? I really didnít think that I could. My baby was deaf. How would he ever be able to function in the hearing society? I wanted to fix it and I couldnít.

I started looking into our insurance to see if they would pay for a cochlear implant after I got over the initial shock of the whole situation. The insurance that we had would cover the implant so that was it, we would find out if he was a candidate and get the CI for him if he needed it. I started focusing on learning sign language and working with him and his hearing aids. Then in the end of November of Ď06 we were informed that our insurance company was dropping Wesí employer, which is also his parentsí company. We were switching insurance. In the search for new insurance Chris, Wesí mother, who is also his boss, looked for insurance that covers CIs. Because they are a smaller company in Wyoming, any of the insurance companies that would take them on would not cover it.

At this point I started my search for some way to get this life-changing process covered or at least partially covered for him. We had qualified for a state program that would help, but they would not cover the whole thing. We were going to be left with at least half of the total cost. In turn because we had the state aid, we did not qualify for anything else that I could find. I looked everywhere. Our audiologist told me about the Let Them Hear Foundation. I contacted them and started the appeals process with the insurance company hoping that if it was medically necessary that they would reconsider and pay for it. We were denied yet again. We had scheduled Danny to have the surgery in September. It was fast approaching. I was really starting to second guess myself and our decision to have this done. Wes and I decided to bump the date back a month, which would be the latest we could have it done with the help from the state aid. We were not going to qualify for it again. So we said that if something had not come about by the middle of September that we were not going to get it done. Taylor with the Let Them Hear Foundation contacted me a week and a half before Dannyís birthday and told be about the Gift of Hearing Foundation. I was really hopeful, but was prepared for another denial. I didnít think that we really even had a chance. I called on the 20th of August to change his surgery date to October and prayed that something would come of the application that I had just filled out. Two days later on Dannyís 1st birthday, Aug. 22, Eileen with the Gift of Hearing Foundation and Taylor with the Let Them Hear Foundation called. Eileen gave me the wonderful news and the best birthday present that Danny will ever get. I really didnít believe her at first. I kept asking if it was true, if she was sure. Our prayers were answered that day.

So we went to Boston to receive the Award. I never realized how many wonderful people there are in this world. We felt so loved and so much excitement from everyone at the Gala. I donít know the words to describe the feeling we had. You all will have a special place in mind and my familyís hearts forever. Here we are a family from a small, very small town in Wyoming and there are all of these great people that love our baby. They hadnít even met him and I could feel the outpouring of love for him. It is an awesome feeling to have people that you donít even know, understand what you are feeling and support you through a really hard time. I want to thank anyone who had anything to do with the decision process on who would get the gift or the Gala for changing my little boyís life! I know that a lot of you have implants yourself so you know first-hand what it means for him.

He was implanted on October 5th and activated on November 15th. He is doing wonderfully. He is recognizing mine, Wesí, and Walkerís voices. He will turn to look for us if he canít see us. He has also made leaps and bounds in the developmental areas that he has been behind in. I know we have a long road ahead of us but it is a whole bunch brighter than it has ever been. I want to thank everyone that our family got to spend time with while we were back east and all of those who made this possible. We will be forever grateful. We hope to see you all again someday and have Danny meet all or at least some of the people that care so much for him. Thank you again!

Kim, Wes, Walker, and Danny Marshall

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